05) “The City on the Edge of Forever” Original Airdate: (04/06/67) Remaster Airdate: (10/07/06)
Regarded by legions of fans as the finest dramatic hour of TOS, “City” has a lot of plot, but very few visual effects and, as such, leaves us with little to evaluate here. The grade at the bottom shouldn’t be taken as a disparagement of this episode—the story is an A+ no matter what and the fact that it isn’t reliant upon special effects to tell its tragic tale of an anachronistic love affair is an enduring testament to Harlan Ellison’s powerfully poignant work of superlative science fiction. With a dearth of visual effects in the original show, the RM team had a scant list of replacement shots to consider. Two shots of the Enterprise orbiting the planet and a handful of vantages of the planet itself (on the viewscreen as well as rotating in space) comprise the bulk of the updated shots for the episode. The only other notable revision is the scene where Kirk looks up into space and the camera tilts from the surface into the night sky. The transition in the original show revealed patches of star-flecked set wall through an airbrushed mountain range, but now the mountains are solid and a thin band of blue twilight serves as a gradient between horizon and space. Though it would’ve been nice to see the Guardian’s pulsing lights updated with modern lighting effects, the shots still work well enough for those who can suspend their disbelief. Even without enhanced visual effects or high definition formatting, this is one episode that will live in our hearts and minds forever.
Money Shot: The reworked shot where Kirk looks up into space and the camera follows his gaze and the CG planet.
Wish List: Updated lighting effects on the Guardian.
Remaster Grade: B+